Rental and Lease Agreements
Rental and lease agreements are contracts between the landlord and tenant regarding the use of a property about to be leased or rented. A written agreement can clearly state the obligation and rights of a tenant and the landlord. A rental of lease agreement should include:
- Names of the tenants and the landlords
- Location and apartment number of the rental unit
- Occupancy terms of the tenant
- Payment for the rent
- Security deposit and its amount
- State if the tenant may have pets
- Availability of parking space
- Who pays for the utilities, the landlord or the tenant
- Whether subletting is allowed
- How many people the rental unit can accommodate
- State the instances when a landlord can enter the unit being rented
- When disagreement arises, who will shoulder the legal fees
Prohibited Provisions in Rental and Lease Agreement
Depending on the laws of your state, rental and lease agreements should not contain exclusion of renters based on color, sex, nationality or race. It should also not contain exclusion of children unless the facility has been declared senior housing. Furthermore, it should not have the renter waiver stating the right to file a case against the landlord or the right to refund the posted deposit. Lastly, a waiver from the landlord to keep the area habitable should not be included in the agreement.
The Difference between a Rental and Lease Agreement
Rental agreements refer to a month-to-month agreement and are considered a short term contract for tenancy. The landlord can change the rental terms as long as he provides proper notice to the tenant. A lease agreement on the other hand is a tenancy written contract that can last for six months to a year. The terms on the lease agreement cannot be changed until the expiration of the contract or without the tenant’s agreement in writing. After the end of the lease contract, and the tenant decided to stay, the tenancy automatically becomes a month-to-month agreement.
Security deposits are required by the landlord upon the renting of the property. This can be kept in a separate account by the landlord and in some cases, the interest earned on the deposits will be returned to the tenant. The purpose of asking for a one to two months’ rent deposit is to cover the cost of unpaid rent, damage to property, if any, and for cleaning beyond the normal wear and tear of the property. The unused portion of the money should be returned to the tenant within the specified time of the states’ guidelines, should the tenant decide to vacate the property.
Rent Control Ordinances
Rent control, or the regulation of rent to prevent unreasonable or excessive increases, was first imposed by the federal government along with other price controls during World War II. It has since ended in most locations, but a few individual states and municipalities including New York City have retained some vestiges of the old rent control laws.
Rent Control Ordinances that allows eviction when under the following circumstances:
- The property unit will no longer be used as a rental unit
- The tenant participates in illegal activity or has become a nuisance
- The tenant did not follow the lease agreement or rental agreement term as stipulated
- The landlord will use the unit as his/her place of residence
Eviction of a tenant by the landlord is not allowed by law unless there is a legal reason for doing so.
Eviction needs to be for a legitimate and non-discriminatory reason. As noted above, there are rent control laws that limit the amount a landlord can charge for a rent and the reasons for terminating tenancy. A landlord can increase the rental charges according to the ordinances provided by the rent control laws that may include rules set by the rent control board including the percentage of increase allowable to the landlord each year.